The saying in soccer is that the best thing a club can do is get its transfer business done early. That way, the new players can get acclimated to their new city, manager and teammates sooner rather than later.
With 43 days remaining before the summer window slams shut, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has declared that his club’s activity in the transfer market is now done.
“I have to say my club did a fantastic job, and not just because of what we bought, but because we did it in almost record time. The transfer market closes August 31 and we close our market on July 19. We finished the market today,” said Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager went on to say: “We got exactly what we need and what we want. The squad is one which I like very much and I look forward to starting the season.”
According to the Chelsea boss, the club identified its targets, knew the players and clubs they wanted to deal with and attacked them all at the earliest stages of the transfer window.
Cesc Fabregas was brought in from Barcelona prior to the start of the World Cup. His arrival was followed by the signings of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid. While the Blues have also secured the rights to Hajduk Split’s up-and-coming midfielder, Mario Pasalic.
Chelsea have also ended the loan spells of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid) and striker Romelu Lukaku.
Both players were highly impressive in their time away from Stamford Bridge. Courtois being named the best goalkeeper in Spain for the past two seasons, while Lukaku scored 15 times in the Premier League for Everton last season.
It is still unclear whether the Belgian goalkeeper will replace long-serving Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal, but there’s no question that he will be a strong challenger for that position.
Speculation around Lukaku was that the 21-year-old striker was concerned over a lack of first team action should he stay on with the London club (due to the arrival of Diego Costa).
Earlier this summer he mentioned he wanted to play: “where the most ambition is and where is the best place for me to develop as a young player.”
But word around the club is the player wants to “fight” for a spot on Jose Mourniho’s first team and is ready to start the season with his championship challenging side. Having said that, Roberto Martinez at Everton still wants to make Lukaku a permanent signing.
Mourinho is clearly happy with his club’s transfer business: “The market is open, but we are so happy with what we have. We feel that our squad is what we want. We don’t want a squad of only end products. We also want to bring to the first team, three or four under-21s, we are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have.”
The Chelsea boss also took another opportunity to take a playful swipe at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger when he asked about the possibility that Cesc Fabregas would have chosen a return to Arsenal as opposed to a move to Chelsea.
“I spoke with him [Fabregas] 20 minutes. I think he really wanted to come to us,” Mourinho said.
“As you know, Arsenal had an option where they could interfere, but I think he was not open to that, I think he was very, very much in our direction, so it was an easy job for me.”